Experience of Crime and Perceptions of Crime and Policing and Justice: Findings from the 2021/22 Northern Ireland Safe Community Telephone Survey published today

Date published: 31 March 2023

The Department of Justice (DoJ) today published Research and Statistical Bulletin ‘Experience of Crime and Perceptions of Crime and Policing and Justice: Findings from the 2021/22 Northern Ireland Safe Community Telephone Survey’ (NISCTS).


An Official Statistics publication, the bulletin focuses on key modules contained within the NISCTS relating to:

  • experience of crime.
  • perceptions of crime.
  • perceptions of policing and justice.

Key Findings

  • Results from the 2021/22 NISCTS indicate that most adults/households did not experience a crime asked about in the survey. Latest findings estimate that 3.8% were victims of at least one crime measured through the survey during the 12 months prior to interview, on a par with the 2020/21 rate of 3.9%. An estimated 60,000 incidents of crime occurred during the 12-month recall periods for NISCTS 2021/22.
  • Respondents from 2021/22 were again more positive in their perception of crime trends in their local area than at the regional level. A quarter, 25%, believed local crime levels had increased in the preceding two years compared with 57% considering crime in Northern Ireland as a whole to have risen.
  • Findings indicate that 7% of participants perceived the level of anti-social behaviour in their local area to be high, similar to the 2020/21 figure of 6%. Rubbish or litter lying around (31%) and people using or dealing drugs (26%) were again most commonly identified as problems in the local area.
  • One-in-ten (10%) respondents expressed a high level of worry about violent crime with a similar proportion, 8%, very worried about becoming a victim of burglary. Of vehicle owners, 6% were very worried about becoming a victim of car crime. None of these three indicators showed a statistically significant change from the previous year. At 73%, the majority of 2021/22 respondents felt fear of crime has a minimal effect on their quality of life, unchanged from 2020/21, also 73%.
  • Overall public confidence in the police and police accountability arrangements (based on a seven-strand composite measure) was 82% in 2021/22, down from 86% in 2020/21. Six of the seven indicators that comprise the composite measure showed a statistically significant decrease over the same period.
  • In terms of the local police, findings suggest that, in 2021/22, 55% rated their local police as doing an excellent or good job, a decrease from 62% in 2020/21. When asked about overall confidence in their local police, the proportion of respondents who stated that, when taking everything into account, they had confidence in the police in their area, fell from 75% to 72%.
  • With regards to community engagement, a decrease was also observed in the proportion agreeing that the police and other agencies ‘seek people’s views about the anti-social behaviour (ASB) and crime issues that matter’, which fell from 42% to 38% between 2020/21 and 2021/22; the proportion of 2021/22 respondents agreeing these issues are being dealt with (47%) showed no statistically significant change from last year (50%).
  • When asked about the criminal justice system (CJS), the proportion of respondents who were very or fairly confident that the CJS as a whole in Northern Ireland is effective was 64%, on a par with the 2020/21 rating of 67%. The proportion confident that the CJS as a whole is fair, however, fell between the two survey years, showing a statistically significant decrease from 73% to 66%.

Notes to editors: 

1.  The Northern Ireland Safe Community Survey (NISCS) is a representative, continuous personal interview survey of the experiences and perceptions of crime and crime-related issues of adults living in private households throughout Northern Ireland.  Previously conducted in 1994/95, 1998, 2001 and 2003/04, the survey began operating on a continuous basis in January 2005. Traditionally conducted as a face-to-face survey, interviews have been conducted via telephone from 2020/21 due to the pandemic and the change in survey mode has resulted in a break in the time series. This bulletin focuses on findings from the 2021/22 survey and will be referred to as the Northern Ireland Safe Community Telephone Survey (NISCTS).

2.  The main aims of NISCTS are to:

  • measure crime victimisation rates experienced by people living in private households regardless of whether or not these crimes were reported to, or recorded by, the police.
  • measure people’s perceptions of, and reactions to, crime (for example, the extent to which they are concerned about crime and the effect of crime on their quality of life).
  • measure public confidence in policing and the criminal justice system.

3.  The bulletin refers to fieldwork undertaken during the financial year April 2021 to March 2022, which involved 2,838 people aged 16 years and over giving complete interviews. This represents an eligible response rate of 40%.

4.  Official statistics are produced in accordance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.  They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.  They are also subject to restrictions in terms of pre-release access. 

5.  The bulletin is available in PDF format only from either the publication section of this website or by contacting Analytical Services Group, Block B, Castle Buildings, Stormont Estate, Belfast BT4 3SG (Telephone: 028 9052 0185; Email

6.  Press queries about this publication should be directed to the DoJ Press Office on telephone number 028 9052 6444.

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